This 21st-century activist's guide to upending mainstream ideas about race, class, and gender carves out a path to collective liberation.
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. This book provides a vision for how social justice movements can become sharper and more effective through principled struggle, healing justice, and leadership development. It also offers a flexible model of what deeply effective organizing can be, anchored in the Chicago model of activism, which features long-term commitment, cultural sensitivity, creative strategizing, and multiple cross-group alliances. And Unapologetic provides a clear framework for activists committed to building transformative power, encouraging young people to see themselves as visionaries and leaders.
"Leadership is the ability to not only make your own way, but to return to give others a roadmap that they, too, can follow. This is what Charlene Carruthers does with Unapologetic. She offers us a guide to getting free with incisive prose, years of grassroots organizing experience and a deeply intersectional lens. She doesn't forget any of us, and reminds us that bringing all of ourselves and our people with us is the only way any of us will get free."
—Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty
"This brilliant and powerful book is a clarion call to keep alive the Black radical tradition in these reactionary times. Charlene A. Carruthers is an exemplary organic intellectual rooted in the struggles of black poor and working people, especially LGBTQ youth, with a subtle analysis and an international vision for freedom. She stands in the great lineage of Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Marsha P. Johnson—grand fighters and great lovers of everyday black people and oppressed folk everywhere!"
“Charlene Carruthers carries the burden, the beauty, the wisdom of four hundred years of Black struggle. But she also brings a critical perspective and a creative vision, rooted in her extensive experience as an organizer and organic intellectual, and in her fierce and fearless commitment to truth. This is an inspiring, powerful, but difficult book because she confronts our movements, our people, our closeted silences, toxic masculinity, patriarchal violence, romantic and selective historical memory, and our future head on, through a radical Black queer feminist lens. Welcome to the Black radical tradition.”
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
"Charlene Carruthers is a powerful organizer, radical thinker, paradigm-shifter, and one of the most influential political voices of her generation. Anyone seriously interested in the struggle for Black liberation in this country needs to listen carefully to what she has to say."
—Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement and Making All Black Lives Matter